Elon musk walter isaacson book

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Book details

  • Publisher ‏: ‎ Simon & Schuster UK (September 12, 2023)
  • Publication date ‏: ‎ September 12, 2023
  • Language ‏: ‎ English
  • File size ‏: ‎ 96228 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏: ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏: ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏: ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏: ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏: ‎ 680 pages


From the renowned author of Steve Jobs and a slew of other celebrated biographies, Walter Isaacson presents an exceptionally intimate narrative of Elon Musk, arguably the most intriguing and disputed innovator of our generation. Musk is the trailblazing visionary who propelled the world into the electric vehicle revolution, pioneered private space exploration with SpaceX, and delved deep into the realms of artificial intelligence. And amidst all this, he also gained a significant foothold on Twitter.

In his formative years in South Africa, Elon Musk endured cruel torment from bullies. A particularly haunting episode saw him pushed down concrete stairs, with the relentless kicks leaving his face unrecognizably swollen. This ordeal led to a week’s hospitalization. Yet, these physical traumas paled in comparison to the profound emotional scars left by his father, a mercurial engineer, rogue, and enthralling storyteller.

The shadow of his father’s influence was long-lasting on Musk’s psyche. He matured into an individual with a unique juxtaposition of resilience and vulnerability. He often exhibited stark Jekyll-and-Hyde mood transitions, possessing a profound risk appetite, an insatiable thirst for drama, a grand sense of purpose, and an unyielding intensity that sometimes manifested as callous or even destructive behavior.

By the onset of 2022—a year hallmarked by SpaceX’s thirty-one successful rocket launches, Tesla’s record-breaking sales of a million cars, and Musk’s ascent as the world’s wealthiest individual—he candidly reflected on his habitual penchant for creating turmoil. “For nearly fourteen years, perhaps even most of my life, my mindset has been entrenched in crisis mode,” Musk confessed.

Yet, this introspective remark wasn’t necessarily a New Year’s commitment to change. As he made this statement, Musk was covertly amassing Twitter shares, positioning himself in the epicenter of the global digital discourse. Historically, in his moments of despair, his thoughts would drift back to the torment he faced in playgrounds as a youth. Now, he was on the brink of possessing the digital equivalent of that very playground.

Over a span of two years, Walter Isaacson closely observed Musk. He attended Musk’s strategic meetings, toured his state-of-the-art factories side by side with him, and devoted hours to interviewing not just Musk, but also his family, allies, coworkers, and even his critics. The culmination of Isaacson’s intensive research is this revelatory account, teeming with astonishing anecdotes of both Musk’s victories and challenges, aiming to decode the very psyche of this modern titan.

Elon musk walter isaacson book short playground

As a kid growing up in South Africa, Elon Musk knew pain and learned how to survive it.

When he was twelve, he was taken by bus to a wilderness survival camp, known as a veld- skool. “It was a paramilitary Lord of the Flies,” he recalls. The kids were each given small ra- tions of food and water, and they were allowed-indeed encouraged to fight over them. “Bullying was considered a virtue,” his younger brother Kimbal says. The big kids quickly learned to punch the little ones in the face and take their stuff. Elon, who was small and emo- tionally awkward, got beaten up twice. He would end up losing ten pounds.

Near the end of the first week, the boys were divided into two groups and told to attack each other. “It was so insane, mind-blowing,” Musk recalls. Every few years, one of the kids would die. The counselors would recount such stories as warnings. “Don’t be stupid like that dumb fuck who died last year,” they would say. “Don’t be the weak dumb fuck.”

The second time Elon went to veldskool, he was about to turn sixteen. He had gotten much bigger, bursting up to six feet with a bearlike frame, and had learned some judo. So veldskool wasn’t so bad. “I realized by then that if someone bullied me, I could punch them very hard in the nose, and then they wouldn’t bully me again. They might beat the shit out of me, but if I had punched them hard in the nose, they wouldn’t come after me again.”

Elon musk walter isaacson book : Table of contents

Chapter 1: Adventurers
Chapter 2: A Mind of His Own: Pretoria, the 1970s
Chapter 3: Life with Father: Pretoria, the 1980s
Chapter 4: The Seeker: Pretoria, the 1980s
Chapter 5: Escape Velocity: Leaving South Africa, 1989
Chapter 6: Canada: 1989
Chapter 7: Queen’s: Kingston, Ontario, 1990–1991
Chapter 8: Penn: Philadelphia, 1992–1994
Chapter 9: Go West: Silicon Valley, 1994–1995
Chapter 10: Zip2: Palo Alto, 1995–1999
Chapter 11: Justine: Palo Alto, the 1990s
Chapter 12: X.com: Palo Alto, 1999–2000
Chapter 13: The Coup: PayPal, September 2000
Chapter 14: Mars: SpaceX, 2001
Chapter 15: Rocket Man: SpaceX, 2002
Chapter 16: Fathers and Sons: Los Angeles, 2002
Chapter 17: Revving Up: SpaceX, 2002
Chapter 18: Musk’s Rules for Rocket-Building: SpaceX, 2002–2003
Chapter 19: Mr. Musk Goes to Washington: SpaceX, 2002–2003
Chapter 20: Founders: Tesla, 2003–2004
Chapter 21: The Roadster: Tesla, 2004–2006
Chapter 22: Kwaj: SpaceX, 2005–2006
Chapter 23: Two Strikes: Kwaj, 2006–2007
Chapter 24: The SWAT Team: Tesla, 2006–2008
Chapter 25: Taking the Wheel: Tesla, 2007–2008
Chapter 26: Divorce: 2008
Chapter 27: Talulah: 2008
Chapter 28: Strike Three: Kwaj, August 3, 2008
Chapter 29: On the Brink: Tesla and SpaceX, 2008
Chapter 30: The Fourth Launch: Kwaj, August–September 2008
Chapter 31: Saving Tesla: December 2008
Chapter 32: The Model S: Tesla, 2009
Chapter 33: Private Space: SpaceX, 2009–2010
Chapter 34: Falcon 9 Liftoff: Cape Canaveral, 2010
Chapter 35: Marrying Talulah: September 2010
Chapter 36: Manufacturing: Tesla, 2010–2013
Chapter 37: Musk and Bezos: SpaceX, 2013–2014
Chapter 38: The Falcon Hears the Falconer: SpaceX, 2014–2015
Chapter 39: The Talulah Roller Coaster: 2012–2015
Chapter 40: Artificial Intelligence: OpenAI, 2012–2015
Chapter 41: The Launch of Autopilot: Tesla, 2014–2016
Chapter 42: Solar: Tesla Energy, 2004–2016
Chapter 43: The Boring Company: 2016
Chapter 44: Rocky Relationships: 2016–2017
Chapter 45: Descent into the Dark: 2017
Chapter 46: Fremont Factory Hell: Tesla, 2018
Chapter 47: Open-Loop Warning: 2018
Chapter 48: Fallout: 2018
Chapter 49: Grimes: 2018
Chapter 50: Shanghai: Tesla, 2015–2019
Chapter 51: Cybertruck: Tesla, 2018–2019
Chapter 52: Starlink: SpaceX, 2015–2018
Chapter 53: Starship: SpaceX, 2018–2019
Chapter 54: Autonomy Day: Tesla, April 2019
Chapter 55: Giga Texas: Tesla, 2020–2021
Chapter 56: Family Life: 2020
Chapter 57: Full Throttle: SpaceX, 2020
Chapter 58: Bezos vs. Musk, Round 2: SpaceX, 2021
Chapter 59: Starship Surge: SpaceX, July 2021
Chapter 60: Solar Surge: Summer 2021
Chapter 61: Nights Out: Summer 2021
Chapter 62: Inspiration4: SpaceX, September 2021
Chapter 63: Raptor Shake-up: SpaceX, 2021
Chapter 64: Optimus Is Born: Tesla, August 2021
Chapter 65: Neuralink: 2017–2020
Chapter 66: Vision Only: Tesla, January 2021
Chapter 67: Money: 2021–2022
Chapter 68: Father of the Year: 2021
Chapter 69: Politics: 2020–2022
Chapter 70: Ukraine: 2022
Chapter 71: Bill Gates: 2022
Chapter 72: Active Investor: Twitter, January–April 2022
Chapter 73: “I made an offer”: Twitter, April 2022
Chapter 74: Hot and Cold: Twitter, April–June 2022
Chapter 75: Father’s Day: June 2022
Chapter 76: Starbase Shake-up: SpaceX, 2022
Chapter 77: Optimus Prime: Tesla, 2021–2022
Chapter 78: Uncertainty: Twitter, July–September 2022
Chapter 79: Optimus Unveiled: Tesla, September 2022
Chapter 80: Robotaxi: Tesla, 2022
Chapter 81: “Let that sink in”: Twitter, October 26–27, 2022
Chapter 82: The Takeover: Twitter, Thursday, October 27, 2022
Chapter 83: The Three Musketeers: Twitter, October 26–30, 2022
Chapter 84: Content Moderation: Twitter, October 27–30, 2022
Chapter 85: Halloween: Twitter, October 2022
Chapter 86: Blue Checks: Twitter, November 2–10, 2022
Chapter 87: All In: Twitter, November 10–18, 2022
Chapter 88: Hardcore: Twitter, November 18–30, 2022
Chapter 89: Miracles: Neuralink, November 2022
Chapter 90: The Twitter Files: Twitter, December 2022
Chapter 91: Rabbit Holes: Twitter, December 2022
Chapter 92: Christmas Capers: December 2022
Chapter 93: AI for Cars: Tesla, 2022–2023
Chapter 94: AI for Humans: X.AI, 2023
Chapter 95: The Starship Launch: SpaceX, April 2023

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